A New York City Police Department precinct commander caught on tape telling an officer young black men were the problem defended his words during the stop, question and frisk trial Monday. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
When asked if he told Officer Pedro Serrano or others at the 40th precinct to stop all blacks, Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack said absolutely never.
McCormack is the commanding officer of the 40th, and is testifying for the city at the stop, question and frisk trial.
Officer Serrano testified in March on the other side of the case, blacks and Latinos who say they have been illegally stopped, questioned and frisked by officers. Serrano secretly recorded conversations with bosses at the 40th, including McCormack.
Inspector: "The problem was what - male blacks, and I told you that at roll call, and I have no problem telling you this. Male blacks 14 to 20, 21. I said this at roll call."
Officer: "So what am I supposed to do? Male blacks 14 to 20 wearing dark clothing. What do you want me to do, specifically?"
Inspector: "Dark clothing - who said that?"
Officer: "What do you want me to do?"
McCormack said he wanted Serrano to understand the importance of driving down shootings and robberies at the Mott Haven and Patterson housing developments. The deputy inspector said residents reported young black men were committing the crimes.
Members of United Chaplains of New York, based in the South Bronx, showed up to court to support McCormack.
"He works within the community, for the sake of the community, meet the needs of the community and bring the South Bronx up to a place of safety," said the Rev. Evelyn Castellano of the United Chaplains State of New York.
During his testimony, McCormack said that after the recordings of him and Serrano were played in court, he met with local leaders and elected officials from his area to explain his side of the story. He said he has the support of those leaders.
Lawyers representing people challenging stop, question and frisk said the recording speaks for itself.
"He sent Serrano for retraining, but he should have been going for retraining," said Jonathan Moore, an attorney for the group suing the NYPD.
Serrano said he was transferred out of the 40th Precinct after he testified in the stop-and-frisk trial.